As a nation, we are in love with the idea of bright white smiles that look like they could belong on the red carpet or the silver screen. In fact, roughly 37 million Americans used teeth whiteners in 2020. Were you among them? There’s nothing wrong with your desire to keep your teeth looking their best, but a word of caution is in order. Whitening your teeth too often, or using the wrong whitening products, may be dangerous for your oral health.
Problems with Too-Frequent Teeth Whitening
If you whiten your teeth too often, you might experience the following problems:
- Increased dental sensitivity. This is especially likely if you have untreated cavities or exposed tooth roots.
- See-through enamel. Your enamel is there to protect your teeth, but frequently using the wrong kinds of whitening products (such as abrasive charcoal toothpastes or anything not approved by the American Dental Association) might weaken your enamel to the point where you can see straight through it.
- Gum irritation. Even whitening agents that are generally safe for use on tooth enamel may cause significant irritation to soft tissues.
Guidelines for Safe and Effective Teeth Whitening
If you would like to whiten your teeth, one of the first things you should do is consult with your cosmetic dentist. They’ll make sure that your teeth are healthy enough to be whitened. If you have any issues that might interfere with your goal of achieving a bright smile, such as decay or gum disease, your dentist can address those before you move forward with cosmetic treatment.
It’s best to opt for professional whitening treatments. Not only are they more effective than over the counter options, but your dentist will make every effort to ensure that they do not harm your enamel or the soft tissues in your mouth. If you choose an in-office procedure, it is unlikely that you will need to get it redone more than once a year. Periodically performing touch-ups with a take-home kit from your dentist can make your results last even longer.
If you choose to use an over-the-counter treatment, look for one with the American Dental Association seal of approval. Some types of whitening strips can offer a degree of effectiveness, but you should expect to have to touch-up your results every few months. Also, make sure the strips fit your teeth well. If they touch your gums, that product is probably not right for you.
Would you like to achieve a brighter smile? Following your dentist’s recommendations for teeth whitening can help you to look your best without endangering your oral health.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Ravi Doctor is the leader of the team at Arlington Dental Professionals. He is an award-winning dentist and an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He offers both in-office and take-home professional whitening options. If you would like to learn more about how you can safely get rid of dental stains, he would be pleased to talk with you. Contact our practice at 817-274-8667.